Friday, December 07, 2012

2012 Recap

So, I actually utterly failed at my research goal this year, but a few other major (good) things happened that needed deliberate focus.  2012 has probably been one of the best years of my life thus far for a few reasons, one being the birth of my first "nibling" (it's in the urban dictionary, so I am using it!).  He's amazing and I am in love.

I also adopted a sailor from March-September through Soldiers' Angels.  Wow, what an incredible experience!  Adopting basically means you write to an active military member on a regular basis and send care packages as well to help keep his/her morale up while they are deployed.  I prayed a lot about the undertaking before I took the plunge and asked for God to specifically match me with the right person.  I honestly don't think I could have been paired with a better one!  He served on a ship in the Navy and we had lots in common and were able to not only write physical letters but also emails to each other.  It was a ton of fun putting together care packages for him and overall was a real blessing to me.  If this at all interests you, there are always service members waiting to be adopted!

A few books that I loved this year:

"Compelled By Love" by Heidi Baker
This woman is amazing.  She is spending her life on the poor and this book details some of her experiences in Mozambique, where she lives and takes care of thousands of orphans.  This book is excellent in every way while being heart-wrenching and convicting.  Read it!

"Hinds' Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard
Another treasure!  Wow, this book has had a profound affect on me.  I was directed to read this book through a prophetic word I was given a couple months ago and it has been the greatest encouragement for some current things I am facing.  Can't recommend it highly enough.

"Outlaw Platoon" by Sean Parnell
This is a really raw, emotional, and disturbing book written by a man who was fighting in the war in Afghanistan a few years ago.  It documents some of his experiences as well as those of the men he served with.  I read this on recommendation from someone in Soldiers' Angels so I would have a better understanding of what our military members are suffering through.  They seriously need our support and after reading it, I was so grateful for the opportunity to do what I could to encourage at least one of them through SA.

What were the highlights of your year?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Research: my goal for 2012

It seems that most years by default are full of research for me. I love to learn so I end up information-gathering without being very deliberate about it. But I have a different plan for this year! I've made a list of things I'm interested in that I want to learn more about or pursue on a deeper level than that of my current knowledge. This list may change and grow as the year progresses:

1. Child-rearing/homemaking
I have been on a continual quest for knowledge in this area for a few years now, but I'd like to be more deliberate about raising children for the Lord - specifically how to teach them about Jesus in an everyday way. I'm soon going to be an aunt! :)

2. Vaccinations
Pretty much everything in me is completely against vaccinations for both adults and children, but I'd like to make an informed decision about it. I do all I can to avoid all forms of medication too and have found (since being vegan) that I no longer have stomach aches, headaches (rarely - when I've had refined sugar usually), and colds are very mild if I get them at all. My philosophy is that proper nutrition allows our bodies to work as God intended them. Medication just suppresses the symptoms instead of dealing with the real issue.

3. The Constitution/Bill of Rights
I've supported Ron Paul for president for a number of years, but have not ever been as interested in him or what he stands for (the Constitution) than the last 6 months. I think this is in large part due to my interest the last two years in understanding the way the Kingdom of God works. Ron Paul's ideals are directly in line with how the Kingdom operates and I support him for that more than for any other reason, which is why I intend to read his books on liberty and freedom and become more educated on things that really every American should know. We are entering the fight of our lives in many more ways than just this election.

4. Etiquette
There is so much to learn from wonderful eras gone by. I'm not of the opinion that the etiquette of 100 years ago necessarily has to be discarded. I think formal and casual can intermingle and frankly I'm just disgusted with the manners of this culture. I want something different and more in line with what's important to me. How is it that so much of the time we are just following what others do and assuming that's the only way to do something? I'm guilty of this in some areas and intend to put a stop to it. Individuality is a treasure. Never leave it in your bedroom.

5. Crocheting/sewing
Material items no longer have value. They're cheaply made and when they break, you buy a new one. I want to learn new ways of crocheting and perhaps make some clothing for myself or some other projects that can have actual value for people (not including horrific sweaters and meaningless crafts just for the sake of 'handmade'). When my Great-grandma died last year, I had the privilege of being able to go through her things and much of it was handmade (lots of clothing). I value those items more than any others and I want to also be able to pass along things I've labored over to the next generation.

Is there anything you're currently researching? If you have any resources you'd like to pass along on any of these topics, please leave a comment!

2011 Book Re-Cap

2011 was a good year!

I read a total of 18 books (you can find the list at the bottom of this blog), surpassing my book goal of reading 15 books + the Bible. I did not read the entire Bible, but including the books I did, the total reaches 29. I also (audio)read Pride and Prejudice 10 times, which is a record. It seems to come alive in different ways the more I read it and is by far my absolute favorite book. Additionally, I would consider The Chronicles of Narnia as a real highlight of reading in 2011. If you haven't yet read it, you absolutely must! The Biblical parallels and sheer genius of character and plot construction brought me to tears at times.

My reading goal for 2012 will be the same: 15 books + deliberate Bible reading

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book goal reached!

Last night I officially reached my goal of reading 15 books in 2011. Most were physical books too, which makes me happy. Audiobooks are easier, but I love the feel of paper in my hands.

Before I continue on in my book-reading, which will include at least 2 more books this year (required for a class I'm taking at church), I'd like to quickly review some of the books I've read...

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I love this series. I think I read them 15 years ago, but hadn't since and what a delight! So well-written, funny, engaging, and caused some very welcome theological mind explosions. Highly recommended!

2. "Dispatches from the Edge" by Anderson Cooper
Excellent book. I do really enjoy Anderson Cooper generally, so maybe I'm a little bias here, but the book is very well-written and was an eye-opener for me. Caused some tears for sure. I listened to the audio version which Anderson narrated himself. If I remember correctly, there's some brief unwholesome language and maybe an inappropriate scene or two. You can get a free copy from if you've never taken advantage of that offer before.

3. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo
I think this was a generally good book. Enjoyable read. A good introduction to visits to/visions of Heaven. I would suggest other books more readily like "Visions Beyond the Veil" by H.A. Baker and anything by Heidi Baker, Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Jack Taylor or any other person in the current move of the Holy Spirit.

4. "Becoming Jane: The Wit & Wisdom of Jane Austen" by Anne Newgarden
This is a small book, but beautifully laid out. The author provides quotes from Jane to emphasis the chapter topics. I have many favorite authors, but Jane Austen has to be my absolute favorite, I think mostly because she so perfectly understands human character. I fail often as a writer of fiction because I can't stand to write characters that have realistic flaws. I would rather them be completely submitted to Christ and even already in their eternal perfected state. :) But Jane...she writes people as they really are and then shows how their character is changed (or unchanged) by circumstances and experiences. They gain wisdom and apply it. So this book honors Jane nicely. And as a soon-to-be-first-time aunt myself, my favorite quote comes from the final Acknowledgments by Anne Newgarden: "And, of course, my thanks to the brilliant Jane Austen, whose life and words are always an inspiration, and who makes me proud to be a maiden aunt." Jane's life is, perhaps, a beautiful celebration of the richness of female singleness.


beauty all around us :)

"Sound" from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kurt Halsey

A package I have been eagerly waiting for arrived yesterday containing this!

I just adore Kurt Halsey's art. This particular piece is a print framed by him and signed on the back. When I saw it, it nearly took my breath away and I knew I had to have it.

Of course my brother is the one who introduced me to Kurt's art about 9 years ago. Matt has the best artistic sense of anyone I know.
Kurt is also vegan and was one of the first people to expose me to the lifestyle by way of a link with some info on his website. He was even willing to answer some questions about it via email when I was first starting out. Check out some of his other stuff if you like what you see!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five - July 15

1. What is the longest distance you’ve traveled (in one trip) by foot?
Would not be more than a few miles.

2. What is the longest trip you’ve taken by car?
my hometown in PA --> Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, Canada - 1165 miles
Cedar Rapids, IA --> Sussex, NB Canada - 1662 miles

3. What is the longest trip you’ve taken by plane?
Rochester, NY --> McAllen, TX - 1903 miles

4. What is the longest trip you’ve taken on some kind of water craft?
not many miles on a whale watch - don't like boats

5. What is the longest trip you’ve taken aboard a bus or train?
not far, just school trips when i was younger.